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Global Update: Covid-19 Vaccines and Health Centers, Fighting Infectious Diseases, and Delivering Insulin to Lebanon

A round-up of operational activity from Direct Relief.

Shipments of medical aid, including protective gowns, face shields, masks and googles, depart for medical facilities in 14 states last week from Direct Relief's warehouse. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)
Shipments of medical aid, including protective gowns, face shields, masks and googles, depart for medical facilities in 14 states last week from Direct Relief's warehouse. (Tony Morain/Direct Relief)

In Summary

• In the fight to reach everyone with Covid-19 vaccines, nonprofit health centers have an essential role to play.

• 35,000 doses of insulin arrive in hard-hit Lebanon, with an additional 55,000 on the way.

• Forbes ranks Direct Relief the third largest charity in the United States.

• Working with The Pfizer Foundation, Direct Relief will provide $2.5 million to safety net providers fighting infectious disease in vulnerable communities.

Top Stories:

When It Comes to Covid-19 Vaccines, Health Centers Are Well Equipped to Reach the Nation’s Most Vulnerable

The Covid-19 vaccine from the first batch of Moderna's vaccine is seen at Hartford hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on December 21, 2020. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)
The Covid-19 vaccine from the first batch of Moderna’s vaccine is seen at Hartford hospital in Hartford, Connecticut on December 21, 2020. (Photo by Joseph Prezioso / AFP) (Photo by JOSEPH PREZIOSO/AFP via Getty Images)

The situation: When it comes to distributing Covid-19 vaccines, writes Direct Relief President and CEO Thomas Tighe, the biggest hurdle won’t be logistics. Instead, it’s the nation’s most vulnerable who will be most likely to miss out on the vaccine.

The response: Direct Relief supports health centers, which are designed to meet the needs of underserved communities, with everything from PPE to refrigeration to funding.

The impact: Health centers have already played essential roles in conducting widespread Covid-19 testing and keeping patients out of hospitals. They’ll be well positioned to build on the trust and familiarity they’ve already established in vulnerable communities to effectively administer vaccinations.

35,000 Doses of Insulin Arrive in Beirut, with 55,000 More to Follow

Insulin, donated by Eli Lilly, is packed in cold-chain shipping containers for Lebanon in Direct Relief's cold storage room on Oct. 8, 2020. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)
Insulin, donated by Eli Lilly, is packed in cold-chain shipping containers for Lebanon in Direct Relief’s cold storage room on Oct. 8, 2020. (Lara Cooper/Direct Relief)

The situation: Even before the Beirut blast, Lebanon was experiencing medication shortages. Since the blast, much-needed chronic disease medicines have been hard to come by.

The response: Direct Relief sent 35,000 vials of insulin, worth $5.2 million, to an on-the-ground partner in Lebanon. Another donation containing 55,000 vials and valued at $8.1 million is in progress.

The impact: The donations will reach thousands of people with diabetes.

Forbes Ranks Direct Relief the Nation’s Third Largest Charity

Direct Relief supplies land in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.
Direct Relief supplies land in the Bahamas in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

The situation: In its fiscal year 2020, Direct Relief received $1.99 billion in private donations, a 39% increase over last year. The organization was listed third on the yearly Forbes list of United States charities.

The response: The increased donations have allowed Direct Relief to launch and maintain a massive, global Covid-19 response while continuing to provide aid during emergencies and fund new and ongoing programs.

The impact: The organization’s work supports health centers and clinics serving the United States’ most vulnerable people, along with partners providing primary care, specialty medical services, maternal and child health, and much more all around the world.

Direct Relief and the Pfizer Foundation Support 11 Infectious Disease Programs with $2.5 Million in Grants

Photo: Bernardo Barrios / Lawndale Christian Health Centers in Chicago, IL
Photo: Bernardo Barrios / Lawndale Christian Health Centers in Chicago, IL

The situation: Vulnerable communities in the United States are at risk from infectious diseases, from STIs to tick-borne diseases to respiratory ailments.

The response: Working with The Pfizer Foundation, Direct Relief is funding 11 innovative infectious disease prevention programs around the country.

The impact: The programs, which range from a rural center providing care at the border to a provider serving Chicago’s Southwest side, will work to track, treat, and prevent diseases as diverse as Covid-19 and HIV.

In Brief

The United States

• Direct Relief will finish distributing 42,000 doses of the flu vaccine and 30,000 CVS flu vaccine vouchers to vulnerable patients to help the ongoing fight against a “twindemic.”
• Bayer announced a new initiative, We’re for Her, in partnership with Direct Relief. The initiative involves a series of grants to safety net providers, donation of Bayer IUDs, and educational materials to be distributed to health care facilities.
• Through the Helping Build Healthy Communities, a joint initiative by BD and Direct Relief, six nonprofit health centers have been awarded $150,000 each for their efforts to fight chronic disease by identifying and working to overcome barriers to health.

Around the World

• In the wake of Cyclone Yasa, which struck Fiji last week, Direct Relief is providing a Hurricane Prep Pack, tents, and pharmaceutical supplies to local partners.
• As a new study highlights the challenges of diabetes care, Direct Relief continues to partner with Life for a Child to distribute insulin, syringes, and blood glucose monitoring equipment to children living with diabetes.

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